Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 695

Niebuhr, H. Richard (Helmut Richard), 1894-1962. Papers,

This collection contains H. Richard Niebuhr's correspondence, addresses, lectures, sermons, writings, teaching materials, clippings, and audiovisual material. The records span 1912-1962.


  • 1912-1962.


There are restrictions on access to this collection. Consult the curator of manuscripts and archives for further information.


20 boxes

This collection consists of the published and unpublished writings, lectures, addresses, and sermons of H. Richard Niebuhr, as well as correspondence, mostly with colleagues and publishers; teaching and course materials; diplomas and honorariums; and a scrapbook with clippings related to the Niebuhr family. There are also two notebooks that contain Niebuhr's thoughts on personal and theological issues. Most of the material in the collection is handwritten, along with annotated typescripts.

The collection includes drafts of the Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt University, drafts of the Earl Lectures at the Pacific School of Religion, and drafts of The Meaning of Revelation, The Social Sources of Denominationalism, The Responsible Self, as well as Niebuhr's Yale dissertation, Ernst Troeltsch's Philosophy of Religion. There is some overlap of materials with bMS 630, such as the Cole Lectures and Earl Lectures, as well as some addresses and sermons. Since both collections consist of annotated or different drafts, they have been retained in their respective collections.

Biographical / Historical

Helmut Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), a leading twentieth-century American Protestant theologian and churchman, is known for his contributions to Christian ethics, for his social analysis of American denominationalism, his interpretation of American religious history, study of American theological education, and authorship of books and essays advancing "theocentric" theology. The younger brother of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Helmut was born in Missouri, and was educated at Elmhurst College, Eden Theological Seminary, Washington University, Yale Divinity School, and Yale University, where he received a PhD in religion in 1924. In 1916, he was ordained a minister in the Evangelical Synod, which later merged with the German Reformed Church in America. He taught at Eden Theological Seminary (1919-1922; 1927-1931) and was president of Elmhurst College from 1924 to 1927. From 1931 until 1962, he taught theology and Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School. Some of his major works include: The Social Sources of Denominationalism (1929); The Purpose of the Church and Its Ministry (1956); The Kingdom of God in America (1937); The Meaning of Revelation (1941); Christ and Culture (1951); Radical Monotheism and Western Culture (1960); The Responsible Self (1962); and Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith (1989).


Organized into the following series:
  1. Series I. Correspondence
  2. Series II. Lectures
  3. Series III. Addresses, sermons, and chapel talks
  4. Series IV. Writings (includes notebooks)
  5. Series V. Teaching, course materials, and worship resources
  6. Series VI. Diplomas, honorariums, and ordination
  7. Series VII. Scrapbook, clippings, and audiovisual material

Acquisition Information

Gift of Richard Niebuhr, 2006.

Related Materials

For related collection, please see bMS 630.

General note

The number after the slash in each entry in the following list indicates the box number, and the number in parentheses is the folder number.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Suarez.
Link to catalog
Niebuhr, H. Richard (Helmut Richard), 1894-1962. Papers, 1912-1962: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library

Repository Details

Part of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School Repository

Special Collections at Andover-Harvard Theological Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies.

45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138-1911 USA
(617) 384-7904
617-496-4111 (Fax)